Blogging has become such a habit. I sometimes find myself---like today, for instance---opening Blogger and starting a post with nothing particular to say. I find that I don't like more than 2 days to pass without posting an entry. Am I concerned my regular readers will abandon me if I'm silent for too long? Likely. Am I addicted to blogging? More likely. Do I simply see blogging as a form of writing practice and use it as a way to continue writing even if I feel I have "nothing" to say? Most likely.
In the book The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron recommends an exercise called "The Morning Pages". This is a practice in which the writer sits and writes a few pages even when nothing particular comes to mind, continuing to keep the proverbial mental pencil sharp, even in the grips of what some would call "writer's block".
There are days when I am compelled to log into Blogger, open my blogs, and just stare at them, sometimes reviewing old posts, reading comments, or just examining the blogs as if I was a first-time visitor. I try to keep perspective on my blog, understand that it is simply a tool of expression, and that unlike a book, which must be printed, bound, and distributed, a blog allows a more fluid pallette. Old posts can be edited or deleted, photos added, links altered to reflect current tastes and predilections, template and layout tweaked. Blogging offers the flexibility to write from where one is---figuratively and literally---even when there is "nothing" to say and no way to say it.
Regular readers---you know who you are!---provide the invisible "audience" to whom I address my missives, and their habit of returning regularly and gracing me with the occasional kind comment is a certain form of encouragement to continue with my practice. New visitors who offer feedback and themselves return again reinforce the notion that my writing can engender reaction and commentary. While praise is lovely, I enjoy comments more when they inform me that someone has been touched by an entry, that my experience or perspective somehow adds to, reflects on, or even contradicts their own. This feeds the feeling that my reader has gained something from logging on to my site, and that their life has been altered, if only for a moment, by what they have read. I would call this "bilateral satisfaction".
So, on this chilly Monday holiday morning (a "holiday" which, by the way, celebrates Columbus, who in no way "discovered" a continent where indigenous people had already lived in peace for millenia---see transformcolumbusday.org) I began to write with "nothing" to say and, lo and behold, a story emerges. This demonstrates that a tabula rasa can evoke words, meaning, and transformative language, even in the face of personal doubts. I guess "practice" means just that, and while far from perfect, it seems to be a means to a gratifying, or at least edifying, end.